**** (4 stars out of 5)I remember "Mudd's Passion" fondly and it didn't disappoint. Mudd writer Stephen Kandel, and Mudd actor Roger C. Carmel return in top form for their third adventure with the rogue swindler.
Searching for 'old friend' Harry Mudd on Motherlode "a charming planet which does not recognize Federation law", Kirk & Spock catch the mustachioed goon in the act of selling love potions. To Bears in Mining Hats, no less (uh, Ursinoids, the wiki informs me).
"True love is worth any price." says Mudd, charging a mere 300 credits. "Interested in purchasing a little love?"
Mudd's eager female assistant is revealed by Spock's stun beam to be a Rigelian hypnoid: a lizard with projected illusions. (See 'Rango' for a lizard with delusions.)
Rather than face the angry miners, Mudd accepts arrest for drug smuggling and fraud. His love crystals and his flattery catch the attention of Nurse Chapel, who is painfully apparently still in love with Spock.
Topical application followed by a touch will cause chemically induced 'friendship' in the same sex and 'love' in the opposite sex. Unspoken is the likelihood that this retro-mutagen ooze would also create Ninja Turtles. Mudd offers the first crystal free while snagging Lt. Chapel's ID and phaser.
It takes a little longer, but soon Spock is waxing rhapsodic about "Nurse Chapel's sweet summary."
Regretful, angry Chapel tries to apprehend the escaping Mudd in the hangar bay, where his crystals shatter and find their way into the air circulators. Mudd takes Chapel hostage and flees by shuttle. Love-sick Spock pursues!
Now, thanks to social lubricant (possibly actual industrial lubricant) everyone is such good friends! Scotty and M'Ress get a little frisky. Arex breaks out his big green guitar. Spock is Christine's sallow knight in science armor, and McCoy offers a heart exam to a young woman I like to think is Barrows from 'Shore Leave'.
Even Kirk and Spock share a manly, manly hug. (Aaavry rose has its thawn...!)
"We have to to control our emotional reactions." muses Kirk. (And cover our mouths to save cost in lip-synching!)
"That is an outstandingly stupid idea." Spock's disproportionate response to Jim is probably the most wonderful line in the animated series.
Our inebriated explorers manage to placate giant armored desert beasts and turn tail before the drugs wear off. Hours of hangovers and hatred ensue.
Harry's sold some people Starfleet Academy, and sold others their own oceans, but he sold me on TAS: If THIS isn't canon nothing deserves to be.